In 2017, The state of New Jersey petitioned the US Supreme Court to repeal PASPA, a federal law that restricts all but a handful of states from legalizing sports gambling. Should sports betting be permitted throughout the U.S. massive opportunities for innovation would be created practically overnight. To get ahead of the PASPA being successfully repealed, ReadyFire was founded and incubated within Bullpen Capital with the end goal of building compelling products that make sports wagering accessible and fun to all sports fans. This case study illustrates the challenge, process, and design assets that came from the mobile apps I created during my time at ReadyFire.
While waiting on the ruling of the petition and because the federal law (PASPA) was still in effect, there were constraints on what we could legally build and release. The path forward for our team was to create free-to-play sports games that embodied the sports betting experience. The users would later be activated into our sports betting products.
Halftime Live was the first free-to-play sports game launched by ReadyFire.
After a week of information gathering, research, and brainstorming ideas for games that met the criteria. We ran the ideas through an evaluation matrix and landed on the first product to create: A live sports gameshow played during the halftime of a key game each day. The graph below outlines the design process. I was solely responsible for the design process end-to-end.
1. Host asks 12 multiple choice questions
2. User has 10 seconds to answer
3. Get one wrong? Use a lifeline to stay in the game
4. Get all 12 questions correct and win a share of the daily prize
The entire design process for Halftime Live from research to launch on the app store took 10 weeks. Over the 5 months following launch we acquired over 80,000 users with more than 60% coming in via incentivized sharing. Halftime Live received a 4.8-star review, with over 1,000 reviews and many positive written reviews.
• ACQUISITION: 80,000 users in less than 5 months
• VIRALITY: Over 60% of users coming in via incentivized sharing
• Key partnerships include the MLB Network, Fanduel, and Bovada
• 70% of users opt-in to notifications compared to the average of 45%
Starting from just an idea meant it was key to understand the design direction for the products. For this I established target personas, I then created a core guiding UX principles doc to guide the user experience.
At a high level these principles were:
• Must be easy to use, accessible, and intuitive (Don't make me think)
• Must be easy to understand (Use simple language - don't use gambling jargon)
• Must elicit excitement, hope, and joy (Design with personality)
• Must be trustworthy and safe
Traditionally mapping out the early experience requires user flow charts, wireframes, and/or wireframe prototypes however in addition to those halftime live required mapping out motion graphics, micro-interactions, music, and game feedback sound design as well. After locking down the show format, I created a motion graphics timeline representing each portion of the show to be created. Then, during the wireframe design, I layered in the sound design experience and expected animation for the micro-interactions. Tying it all together during the visual design portion of the process adding motion, music, and game feedback.
We needed a majority of our users to opt into our notifications to be a successful live game show. To achieve this, we created a video to prime users to the benefits of allowing our notifications. We were able to do this in a fun and friendly way. The notifications primer was a success that resulted in over 70% of users opting into notifications compared to the vertical average of just 45%.
Users answer a simple YES/NO question predicting an outcome in a specific sporting event. For example: "Will Joel Embiid score 8 or more points in the first quarter of tonight's game?". Users who predict correctly receive 3 entries into a sweepstake while those who answer incorrectly receive one entry. Winners were announced at the beginning of Halftime Live games.
The popularity of this feature paved the way for our second app, FiveAlive.